Category Archives: Major Incidents

A December to Forget?

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Given recent events and all the heartache they’ve brought, I’m not sure that December is a month to remember but instead, it’s one we’d like to forget.

Flight 3407 Responders Recognized for Recovery Efforts

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My kids will verify that we rarely swear in front of them. Foul language is unacceptable in our house. My involuntary response to the pager message was: “Holy S***!” Alex immediately sensed something and asked me “What’s wrong Dad?”

I said, “I can’t believe I’m saying this but… I’m going to a plane crash.” I grabbed my laptop backpack and my go-bag for extended deployments and headed out the door.

A December to Remember

I’m not big on forwarding for the sake of forwarding; or just regurgitating information in an effort to build traffic to a web site. However, my good friend Billy Goldfeder sent out a broadcast yesterday that deserves sharing. His efforts were followed up by a newsletter distribution from the USFA Coffee Break that highlighted similar events. […]

Clean the Litterbox

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This blog is a companion piece to my article titled “Make it Personal” in the June edition of Fire-Rescue Magazine.

 

I was reading a not so tongue-in-cheek blog on FirefighterNation.com written by my good friend Art Goodrich titled: “Ordering From the Risk Menu” and it reminded me of a Saturday I spent recently, full of fire service activities.

 

I started the day by attending a heavy dose of an 8-hour seminar focusing on preparation for a Line of Duty Death. If you’ve ever read one of my blogs, you know I’m very passionate

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Continental Flight 3407 crashed into a home in Clarence Center around 10:20pm on Thursday-February 12, 2009 - killing 50 people and changing the lives of thousands more, including mine.

I responded in the first wave of emergency services personnel sent to help restore order to the chaos that the crash created.

Conveying Tragedy

Buffalo News Photo-Tonawanda Fatal Fire

Buffalo News Photo-Tonawanda Fatal Fire

I consider myself a student of effective public and media relations. One of the most difficult messages a fire chief or public information officer must convey is that of a tragedy where, despite our best efforts, the results are fatal.

I often coach fire officers and public officials at incident scenes as how to best deliver difficult news. While I encourage them to focus on the role of the rescuers – not the victims, showing respect and concern for all those affected by the tragedy is very important as we speak publicly. This difficult and uncomfortable situation is one that any of us could be faced with at any time.

Some things bear repeating

I’m not one to regurgitate information. I don’t do a lot of pass through e-mails. And I certainly don’t perpetuate “Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Some inane subject matter” e-mails like so many copy-and-paste-challenged people do.

But some things bear repeating. Some things strike you so profoundly, so succintly, that you simply feel obligated to pass it along, even if so many others have done so already.

This is one of those occasions. I’m re-publishing (with permission) this excerpt of an e-mail from my good friend and mentor Billy Goldfeder. It’s from his not-so-secret Secret List at FirefighterCloseCalls.com. If you don’t subscribe to it, you’re either out of touch or you don’t care about our brother firefighters getting hurt and dead.

Tiger Schmittendorf

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